For this project, we had to create an interactive trailer for a fictional beat ‘em up video game called Street Fury. The theme of the trailer had to be 1980’s, so I based my trailer on the Cold War because, during the 1980’s with the election of Ronald Reagan, the tensions of the Cold War started to escalate between the two super powers (The United States and the Soviet Union). My two characters are based on the United States president and vice president at the time, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior.
Five Strengths and Weaknesses
One strength of my project is the motion graphics at the end of the alternate endings, the logo. I enjoyed making it and liked how it turned out. If I were to improve it I would make the flags look more tattered, instead of just affecting the sides. How I created it, I started off by creating burnt tattered flags. I did this by using the smudge tool in Photoshop, I pushed the sides in to give it the ripped effect. I then duplicated the layers of both flags and put them on top of each other. I went into the duplications layer styles and added a brown inner glow and a drop shadow. I also removed the flags inside the duplicated layers, the bottom flags are visible but the inner glow and drop shadow are still present. Then on the bottom layers, I added another inner glow that was darker but does not stretch as far into the flag, this gave it the burnt effect. Then with a graphics tablet, I wrote out in red, Street Fury with the brush tool. I used a different brush than the default brush because I wanted to have text that looked like it was hand written. I again added an inner glow that was a lighter shade of red and added a drop shadow. I saved each asset separately so it is easy to animate in After Effects. I made the two unaltered flags come in from the opposite sides. Found a royalty free fire textures, one a normal flame and a ring of fire. With the normal fire, I had it bigger than the screen, so the edge of the photo is not visible. I animated it move up to the top left of the screen and morphed it, so it looks like real fire. I had the words street fury on the centre but huge, so they are not visible. After the fire disappeared, I scaled Street Fury down to land on the flags. This so it looks like it came from behind the camera. After Street Fury landed, I raised the opacity of the ring of fire and animated it rotating and scaling it up off the screen.
Another strength is my keying of my green screen footage. The footage I keyed did not have any halo effect in the end footage. If I had to improve it, I would try to remove a part of a table in one of the scenes, I had difficulty to remove because if I tried to change the KeyLight 1.2 settings it would remove me from the footage. After recording the footage on a green screen, I took it into After Effects and used the pen tool to draw around the area I wanted to keep, this deletes the unnecessary sections of the footage. After I added the effect KeyLight 1.2, this allowed me to remove the last of the green in my footage without affecting the people in my footage too much.
My backgrounds of my footage is a strength. My backgrounds are royalty free pictures of the Oval Office in the White House. I adjusted the scale of the background or the shot footage to fit in with the scene I wanted to create. If I had the time I would have tried to create my own version to make it fit in more with the story.
Another strength is the 3D work in the videos, the particle effects that appear every now then. I wished they were more visible, so when I rendered them in 3DS Max I should have chosen a darker colour. How I created the particle effect is I went into particle system and selected snowflakes. I then created a light grey texture in Photoshop to add to the particle effects. I then changed the particle types to mesh and add the texture to a material ball. I then applied that material to the particle system. I then increased the size of each particle and lowered the amount.
The last strength of this project is the knowledge I had to plan out this project. I know a lot of history about the Cold War and the tension at the time. I wished I did more research into the Soviet Union at the time, I know they invaded Afghanistan but I would have researched more into the political tensions in the country at the time. This is so I could have created a better reason for the Soviet attack on the United States.
A weakness I would identify would be the lack of 3D assets in the interactive video. If I knew what to add and how to add it. I feel I only added the particle effect just because I had no 3D assets in my footage. I could have used my idea to have the Strategic Defence Initiative and created a 3D satellite that fires a laser.
Another weakness of my Street Fury project is I did not really design a selection screen for the choice scene. I could have designed a layout for this scene, like at the end of some YouTube videos that have some videos. Just to make this bit more professional looking and looked more organised.
The sound from my green screen footage was another weakness I feel. I found the audio of my footage had an echo, I know the room we filmed was big and we used the microphone on the camera. I could have done a voice over but it is difficult to make it sound correct and have sound play as the character’s mouth opened.
I feel I could have added ambient noise in the background other than bombs going off. I could have added some royalty free music to feel the parts where it is quiet. I could have also added some more sound effects like planes/jets sound effects.
The last weakness I feel is the lack of characters in my short video. I could have added an enemy in the video that my two characters could have fought. This would allow me to also address the previous weaknesses as well because it gives me more to work with. For example, to address the lack of sound effects I could have had a fight scene with sounds effect for guns or impact sounds.
Was there a specific theme for the design idea? Can you reference any influences here? How did you develop your ideas for your character and video sequence, and what were your influences? Why did you make these creative choices? What prompted these creative decisions?
The main theme of my video is the Cold War and American Patriotism at the time of the 1980’s. I used the 1984 film Red Dawn as my main influence because the plot is like my video except for the types of characters. The plot of both the film and my video is the Soviet Union attacks the United States and it is up to a group of people to stop them. I also used the actual history of the time to design my idea, for example, I tried to base my character ideas on Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior, the president and vice president during the most of the 1980’s. The location of the video is in the Oval Office in the White House, the original location was going to be either Los Angeles or Seattle. The reason for this change is due to the president and vice president will probably be at the White House than these places unless they were there for specific reasons, so I changed it to make it seem more realistic. Another inspiration I used is the Strategic Defence Initiative, nicknamed Star Wars. It was primarily designed to be a defence against ballistic missiles but people thought it would have other uses. In my video, the Strategic Defence Initiative is the provocation of the Soviet attack. I would have made it more present in my video other than a mention but I did not have the time to properly implement it in, for example, a simple animation or 3D model.
What experiments and explorations did you do? How did it affect your development?
I mainly experimented with my Street Fury logo. I had two different ideas with several attempts while creating them to get them how I wanted. The first one was a simple two flags side by side with the title Street Fury wrote in a bulky font. The font was based on fonts used in Cold War propaganda. The second one, the one I used in the final piece, used burnt and tattered versions of the US’s and USSR’s flags above and below each other. The text I used was based on titles used in martial arts movies. I hand drew the font, the y in Street Fury took a while to do and several attempts to do because I could not do the swing of the bottom part of the y correctly. At the end, I liked the second better and people who I asked also thought that one was better. I could have experimented more with the green screening, for example doing more shot types and angles.
What were the key areas of development in this project?
I feel the key areas of development in this project were motion graphics, editing and green screening. With motion graphics, before starting this project I have not done any motion graphics to this scale before, only simple movement animation. I learnt new effects and how to animate different settings. With editing, I did editing before but I feel my skills have improved, I learnt how to do transitions between scenes and audio clips. With green screening, I did it once before starting this project. But I feel my skill while greening screening has improved while doing this project because when I started off, my footage will often have halos around them. But by the end, the green screen footage I keyed does not reach professional quality but it is better than what I started.
Using specific examples. Explain how the final work is appropriate for the requirements of the brief. Does it fit the genre and theme of the product it is designed to promote?
I feel my project does meet the brief. The main things I had to do are; “Develop ideas for the character, Plan and script a short sequence, produce video footage using appropriate techniques, produce 3D elements using appropriate techniques, create motion graphics using appropriate techniques, Composite and edit your footage and upload to an appropriate platform”. I feel I just met the brief for the 3D by making a simple particle effect and wished I made more 3D stuff for this project to improve my skills in 3D. I also feel my project does meet the purpose of the video it does advertise the Street Fury but I feel it does not tell the viewer that it is for a side scroller beat ‘em up. I do feel it meets the themes and genre that the brief wanted me to do but I could have made it look like it is more from the 80’s by making it look like it’s on a videotape. I did this by adding a motion graphics at the end of each video that is like old TV’s turning off but I wished I did something like that over the entire video to make it look old.
How appropriate is your final outcome for its intended purpose platform? Do you think that it would help promote the product effectively?
I feel the final outcome of my project does fit the intended platform. The platform I chose is YouTube because YouTube recently added end screens (similar to annotations but they work on computers and mobile devices). The purpose was to create an interactive video that allows the user to pick two or more alternate endings. I tried and tested the videos on a computer and a mobile device and they worked perfectly. I would maybe change the timing of the end screens to maybe last a bit longer, just to give the audience enough time to make a decision. I think this does promote the product effectively because it makes the trailer easy for the audience to remember and it has the possibility to tell the audience more about the game and the character in it.
Did it go better or worse than you expected?
I feel the recording went worse than expected because while editing I felt I needed to add more scenes in to make characters abilities more apparent. To me there is no clear idea about what these characters can do, it explains the plot of the game but does not explain what these characters can do. While the editing, green screening keying and motion graphics went better than expected because I thought they are going to be quite simple. For example, my motion graphic was just going to be a simple movement animation but it turned into something where I used different effects.
What feedback did you receive from your peers?
The main bit of feedback I received from my peers is mainly in my motion graphics. One piece of feedback I got was about using a fire when Street Fury landed, I thought about using the ring of fire but I would not have had the thought without the suggestion. Really the only feedback I got from my peers is how to improve my motion graphics and how to do things for 3D work.
What would you change about the work produced to improve and develop it? What do you think you could improve next time?
If I would change anything it would be the plot of the video, I would keep the Soviet Union attacking the United States but I would change it that allows me to add more 3D and effects. I probably add a scene where the president mentions the Strategic Defence Initiative so I could add a 3D model and animation of a satellite attacking the Soviet Union or Soviet forces. I would also add more effects into the video, for example, shake the screen to simulate a bomb exploding nearby instead of just having dust falling from the ceiling.